Everyone says to focus on self love. But, if you ask me, sometimes it’s easier said than done. Building a positive body image isn’t “easy” or else everyone would be super confident all the time. And I do NOT think anyone feels that way 100%. For me, the journey was a long one. I suffered for years with body image and self-love. I put everyone but myself first, I hated my body no matter what it looked like or how healthy I was – I wasn’t on TEAM LAUREN.
But that all changed. It wasn’t overnight and it took a lot of self-reflection and work but when I look back, there are definitely a few things that I can pinpoint as major contributors to my newfound (not perfect) body image. I don’t believe in quick fixes and trying these three things I listed below aren’t going to be the end-all-be-all cure. BUT, what I can promise is that by starting with these, you’ll be well on your way to falling in love with the badass, amazing woman you are.
No. 1 Stop stepping on the scale
Here’s the thing. The scale, in my opinion, is for the birds. Your weight means little to nothing, generally speaking (medical conditions aside). Measurements affected by your weight, like BMI, aren’t truly telling of where you’re at in your health & wellness journey and they certainly don’t account for how much you love yourself, physically, mentally, or emotionally. So, why do we STILL, in 2021, have the urge to step on the scale every day, several times a day, to see if that number is going down? Someone tell me. Please. Because I truly don’t get it.
The moment I stopped relying on the scale to track my physical progress was the moment I stopped letting my weight dictate my self-worth and value. I honestly could not tell you how much I weigh. Maybe it’s 140lbs or maybe it’s 156lbs. I don’t know. And I don’t care. Whether I’m at my heaviest or my most lean, the number on the scale does not represent what I see when I look at my body and physical appearance.
I feel my best when I feel strong. Sometimes that comes with a little extra fluff or softness. Sometimes it comes with a leaner physique with visible muscles. Sometimes that comes with a scale reading 142lbs and sometimes the scale might read 154lbs.
I stopped using the scale to track progress and instead rely on the way I feel, the way my clothes fit, my digestion and sleep quality, my skin clarity, and my mood. When those things are in line, I’m happy. When they aren’t in line, I’m happy. I am patient and kind to my body and a huge part of that mindset happened when I stopped relying on ONE thing – aka the scale – to determine how I should feel about myself.
No. 2 Unfollow triggering accounts
Maybe this should be number one because it’s really important. If you’re still following women/accounts/people on Instagram or TikTok or any other social platform that make you feel anything less than empowered, click the unfollow button immediately. And no, to answer that question in the back of your mind, it is not petty to unfollow someone.
I used to follow women that looked nothing like me. They were thin. They had virtually perfect relationships. They had a new campaign every day. They traveled and stayed in luxury hotels every weekend. They complained about things I couldn’t relate to and celebrated filtered faces and excessive diets. And guess what – all of THAT information made me feel pretty bad about myself. I couldn’t live up to what they were putting out there. It wasn’t relatable to ME. So, I made the decision to hit “unfollow” and have never looked back.
Instead, I’ve actively started following women who inspire me and motivate me. If they don’t look like me, it doesn’t matter because chances are, they’re empowering their audience of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and interests to love THEMSELVES no matter what. And that’s why I follow them. Just like I want to surround myself in person with people who make me feel good about myself and encourage me to embrace the parts of me that make me unique, I want the same for my life “virtually”.
You should never look at a little square on your phone and think to yourself:
I wish I looked like that.
Why can’t my boyfriend/fiancé/husband/partner be like his/her’s?
Her ____ is in perfect shape. Let me eat a salad for lunch tomorrow instead of _____.
Ugh, I wish I had _____ like her.
Instead, you should see someone’s post and think:
Yes queen! I love my body, too.
I never thought about food like that – she’s right, I should enjoy _____ tonight instead of trying to restrict myself.
She has cellulite, too!
OMG I’m not alone! Her partner gets on her nerves, too.
AND SO ON…
No. 3 Put an end to quick fixes
When it comes to body image – the way we view ourselves – it’s important to avoid doing things that promise quick fixes. Whether you’re having insecurities about acne/skin, the cellulite on the back of your legs, the softness around your tummy, the size of the booty, etc., relying on trendy diets or products that guarantee immediate results only leads to a band-aid approach and mindset versus a) loving your body NO MATTER WHAT and b) taking the time to figure out what might be causing those things and healing them/supporting them at a slower and more natural pace.
This doesn’t mean you can’t want to get rid of acne or lose body fat. For the most part, if you’re living a healthy balanced life, these might be “side effects” and that’s fine. However, setting out on a specific goal to drop 10 pounds so you can get a six-pack or cleaning up your skin so you can “finally be pretty” – I have a problem with that mindset. Making changes for vanity is only going to hinder your self-love journey.
Instead, put the focus on being the healthiest, happiest version of yourself. Whatever that looks like is BEAUTIFUL. Acne, cellulite, small boobs, big boobs, big booty, no booty, body fat, muscles. It’s all beautiful and amazing and if you LOVE the way you look, no matter what, that’s the most important thing.
Avoid the quick fixes and trendy diets. Focus on eating whole foods packed with nutrients. Choose products with clean ingredients. Move your body because you want to, doing things you actually like doing. Results might be slower. Progress might be slower. But along the way, you’ll learn to love the woman you are regardless of what the “after” looks like. I promise.